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FINN ROCK: “I’ve been trying to emphasize the idea of public relations and relationship building,” was the way Jim Thomas explained his work as the new McKenzie Schools superintendent. Speaking at last week’s meeting of the school board, he encouraged the district to again work on developing a strategic plan. Referring to past experiences with similar exercises, Thomas said, “By the time you’re done with it the local community is involved and it becomes like a living document. I’d like to throw it out just to get your input.”
Board member Alyssa Brownlee said she’d had some experience with the strategic planning process when she worked at Clark College. “Initially there was a lot of anticipation and resistance,” she recalled. “I myself was thinking about another thing to do, more papers to fill out. After we went through the process I actually found it was kind of fun. Having clear goals that we all worked on was really helpful,” she added.
Referring to the school’s previous strategic plan, board member Kathy Keable said that it has lain dormant in part because it had occurred at a “rather tumultuous time for the district.” Keable felt the study, conducted with the Planning, Public Policy and Management  program at the University of Oregon, “Was a start but we didn’t keep it going and really look at it to make changes. It should be something that’s ours and not theirs.” (Click title to continue)

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Off Beat Oregon History

LighthouseBy Finn J.D. John
It was late December, 1856, and Thomas Smith, proud owner of the intrepid little 104-foot barque Desdemona, was in a hurry.
Smith stood to make a particularly nice profit if the shipment of general merchandise the Desdemona was carrying out of San Francisco reached Astoria on or before New Year’s Day. So he proposed a deal to the captain of his ship, Francis Williams: Get the cargo into port by New Year’s Day, and he would be rewarded with the price of a new Sunday suit.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

Cherry DropsBy Kym Pokorny

Once a week from June 14 to mid-September, Harry Olson and Tobie Habeck commuted from Salem to Silverton to tend a U-shaped plot at The Oregon Garden. As they weeded and watered, the duo would hear docents tell their trams full of visitors about the little-known grafted vegetables overflowing from the raised beds and spilling onto the mulched aisles.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.